Visit the Trapholt Museum of Modern Art in Kolding, Denmark

The Trapholt Museum of Modern Art and Design on the banks of the Kolding fjord is one of the most popular museums in Denmark.

It's Very Hard to Get Hot over a Painting

The Trapholt museum for moderne kunst, design og kunsthåndværk (modern art, design, and crafts) is one of Denmark’s best-known modern art museums. It is famous for having the largest collection of designer chairs in Denmark but most of the galleries are used to display temporary exhibitions. This popular museum is beautifully located on the banks of the Kolding Fjord in southern Denmark and confirms that the Danish love of modern art spreads far beyond the urban centers of Copenhagen and Aarhus.

Trapholt Museum for Moderne Kunst og Design

Arne Jacobsen Chairs in the Trapholt Museum

The Trapholt Museum of Modern Art opened in 1988 in Kolding on a site that allows fantastic views of the fjord not only from the sculpture park but also from several of the galleries and the pleasant café.

At the core of the Trapholt’s own collection is Danish furniture, paintings, and sculptures from around 1900 to the present. The Trapholt has with over 500 examples the largest collection of designer chairs in Denmark.

The Trapholt is also known for its permanent collection of paintings by Richard Mortensen, a sculpture park with works by Danish artists, and the Kube-flex summerhouse of star architect Arne Jacobsen.

Exhibitions in the Trapholt Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

Honey & Bunny

As with most other large modern art museums in Denmark such as Louisiana, Arken, and ARoS, the artworks on display in Trapholt change frequently with temporary exhibitions making up the largest part of the museum.

The art displayed in the Trapholt Museum is not providing a general overview of Danish art, so the theme or artist highlighted in the special exhibitions will very much determine if it is worth visiting the museum at a specific time.

An advantage of the frequent changes is that the most modern display techniques may be used allowing for many hands-on displays and interactive activities that may even include eating some of the installation art.

Danish Designer Furniture at the Trapholt Museum

Designer Chairs in the Trapholt Museum

The Traphold is famous for its large collection of Danish furniture and a section close to the entrance is known as the Furniture Museum. A large circular walkway leads to the basement past furniture displayed according to a special artist or theme.

In the basement is the Din Udstelling / Your Exhibition section – one of the most popular parts of the museum. Here a large selection of the museum’s furniture, paintings, and sculptures are used to illustrate how museum exhibitions are curated.

Visitors are encouraged to explore different exhibition themes, colors, designs, shapes, and periods to experience how an art exhibition is curated. For some exhibitions visitors may physically change the background color for paintings, lightening options for statues, and positioning of certain works to see the effect on how the artwork is perceived in different surroundings.

Visitors may pick up to ten favorites and digitally curate their own exhibition of the works on display in the museum. The best suggestions are selected for a physical display in the museum using the respective artworks.

Gardens of the Trapholt Museum

Arne Jacobsen Summerhouse at Trapholt
Interior of the Arne Jacobsen Summerhouse at the Trapholt Museum

Admission to the large garden of the Trapholt Museum is free. The garden has a number of sculptures by Danish artists but the views over the Kolding fjord are equally impressive.

A highlight in the garden is the Kube-flex summerhouse of Arne Jacobs. He presented the house at the Archibo house fair in 1970 but this example, which Jacobs used for years in Zealand, remained the only one ever built. The interior may only be seen on guided tours – offered a few times per day – but at other times it is worth peeking through the windows to see the clean lines of this modern design. However, many may find the half-timbered buildings in the garden more attractive in the Danish countryside.

Bringing an own picnic to the benches in the garden is totally acceptable, and frequently done by Danish visitors, but the café has equally good views of the fjord and serves small meals. It is particularly popular with families for brunch on Sundays, which is a surprisingly good deal.

Trapholt Museum Visitors Information

Trapholt Museum Tickets and Opening Hours

Eat Me Exhibition in the Trapholt Museum

Admission to the Trapholt Museum is DKK110 for adults and free for children younger than 18. Students pay DKK55 while groups of 10+ pay DKK90.

The Trapholt Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, closing at 21:00 on Wednesday.

The museum is closed on Mondays but usually open if the Monday is a national holiday.

Information in the museum is in both Danish and English.

Transportation to the Trapholt Museum

Richard Mortensen Paintings in the Trapholt Museum

Getting to the Trapholt Museum, Æblehaven 23, 6000 Kolding, Denmark, is easy by car or on public transportation. The museum is beautifully located in the eastern suburbs of Kolding on the northern shore of the fjord.

The museum is only a few minutes’ drive from the E20 / E45 highways and around an hour’s drive from Esbjerg, Flensburg, Aarhus, or Odense with Copenhagen around 2h30 to the east. It is a great day-trip destination from nearby cities or a pleasant stopover when traveling in the south of Denmark.

Parking is free but note that the gates are locked at the museum’s closing time, even if the park remains open. (Cars may only be collected the following day or pay a DKK500 unlocking fee!)

By bus, the Trapholt Museum can be reached in about 20 minutes from Kolding train station and city center. Use bus 7, 8, or 9 to the Lyshøj Allé v Trapholt Kunstmuseum stop, which is less than 10 minutes walk from the museum. The bus is usually available twice per hour on weekdays and at least hourly on weekends.

Modern Art Museums in Denmark

Boy in AROS

The Trapholt Museum in Kolding is one of the art highlights of the Jutland Peninsula and Southern Denmark. It is a pleasant contrast to the historic sights in Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town, and complements the Mennesket ved Havet sculptures in Esjberg at the opposite Atlantic side of the Peninsula.

Modern art is very popular in Denmark with several famous large museums. The most lauded is Louisiana to the north of Copenhagen while Arken is to the west of the Danish capital, while the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK — national gallery) in Copenhagen also has a large collection of especially Danish modern art. ARos with its rainbow ring on the roof and large Boy statue in Aarhus and Kunsten in Aalborg are also worth seeing.

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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